I’ve mentioned before that the public media (National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System) are the most reliable sources of information in the United States. And I stand by this. All news is biased because all history is biased–and news is history. But the public press is much less biased than the commercial press for obvious reasons.
I didn’t believe in global warming until just after Hurricane Ivan struck my house in 2004, and nearly killed me in my sleep (via a would-be-impaling oak limb). In the days that followed, this area was without electricity of course–so I had plenty of time to listen to my battery-operated radio. And I caught a segment on NPR on this subject. A woman was interviewing a scientist (Al Gore is not a scientist) who confirmed that global warming was real, but not in the way popular culture defined it.
He explained how the earth had always gone through phases of extreme cold (ice age) and extreme heat (hothouse planet). In so many words he basically said this: Earth is entering a warm phase–but it’s natural. We humans are not causing this, it would be occurring even if we didn’t exist.
The interviewer did ask him why, then, we had been having so many record-breaking cold spells in the last few years.
The scientist replied that this was normal for global warming, though seemingly counterintuitive. He said that, whenever the earth’s climate changes–whether warming up or cooling down–it goes through a long period of extreme weather before settling down into its new phase. He said that, as global warming intensified, we would be seeing extremes in cold as well as heat, and extremes in dry weather as well as wet weather. He said there would be typical storms–blizzards, hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons, tornados–occurring at very atypical times of year and in very atypical locations. And he said that this bizarre weather would probably go on for decades before the planet finally settled into its hothouse phase.
Of course this scientist could have been completely wrong–but I doubt it. I liken this to “growing pains” in a human. A child doesn’t instantly become an adult. He/she goes through years of physical and emotional discomfort, often even turmoil (i.e. adolescence)before finally growing up. And I think that’s what our planet is doing now.
As aforementioned, I am a card-carrying Independent–and I despise both the Republican and Democratic Parties because of their increasing extremism, corruption, and power. Americans are confused as hell about climate change–and understandably so. From the beginning, the Democrats have been claiming that global warming is real, and that we humans are causing it. And as an understandable reaction to this claim, the Republicans have been claiming that global warming is not real.
As usual, the truth is somewhere between differing arguments–I contend that global warming is occurring, but that we are not causing it. Are we aggravating it–making the “growing pains” more intense? Possibly. But what difference does it make? If all seven billion of us were to suddenly disappear–global warming would still be occurring.
I really prefer the term “climate change” because “global warming” is such a politically loaded term–and because global warming could conceivably trigger an ice age.
Nobody can seriously deny that there is something wrong with our weather, worldwide. Growing up on the upper Gulf Coast in the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties I went barefoot this time of year–it was that warm every winter. Winter was also the sunniest time of year–most of the rain occurred in the summer. And even the summer wasn’t nearly as hot. You see–contradictory weather. Now it rains constantly through the winter as well as the summer. And the winter is even colder than the summer is hot. Two Christmases ago, there were two tornados less than a week apart in my Mobile, Alabama hometown–one of which tore up Murphy High School–my alma mater. I asked a guy from Kansas if he’d ever seen a tornado–and of course he replied that he had. But never in December. And the last two summers have been the rainiest here in Florida–yet the driest almost everywhere else. Hard to imagine–constant rain here, constant fire in the West–all summer long. The best coffee I’ve ever had is Community Coffee’s Kona Blend–whose beans are grown in Hawaii. But that blend hasn’t been available for two or three years. After some inquiry to the Community Coffee Company as to why they no longer carried the Kona blend, I was finally told that Hawaii had been suffering such drought in recent years that there simply weren’t enough Kona blend beans to meet the demand anymore.
The earth’s climate is changing, and there’s nothing we can do but weather it out. Fifty years ago, the weather was usually calm–fifty years from now, the weather will usually be calm. But right now the weather is hell–everywhere. We all just happen to be on this planet at the worst time.